Inspirational Women: Dorah Sitole ~ Cooking from Cape to Cairo

Dorah Sitole
Dorah Sitole

It is women’s month and I would like to use the opportunity to pay tribute to the women who inspire me…..

I love her passion for African cuisine and I have been following her career since her days as a food editor for True Love magazine…. I recently got my hands on her book Cooking from Cape to Cairo and just from going through the pages I do not know why I only bought it now….

Dorah Sitole spent two years researching and travelling around the continent collecting recipes.  The recipes in the book are collected from top chefs at hotels in the larger cities and luxurious game lodges in the wildest bush, to the ordinary housewives in rural villages.  In the book you will find a selection of some of the most popular exotic, traditional and tasty dishes from each region. You also get a glimpse of the culture from the beautiful images provided together with a brief overview on the background culture of the country, and the influences that have shaped its cuisine.

Together with True Love Magazine, Dorah Sitole covered 19 areas including Egypt, Kenya, Malawi, Ghana, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Morocco, Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria, Zanzibar etc.  There’s something for every nationality including our dishes from Southern African cultures e.g. Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Swazi, Ndebele, Venda, Cape Malay etc.

I have taken a few passages from Dorah Sitole’s introduction in the book and would like to share them here:

“It would give me great joy to see African food, in its entirety, on the centre stage of the world’s cuisine.  The few books written about African food, concentrate on West and North African cuisine.  If anything is mentioned about South African cuisine, it is usually only about Afrikaans or Cape Malay food.  Nothing wrong with that, but there is much more – South Africa has an array of exciting local foods, from villages and vibrant townships, through to the cities.  What a pleasure it was to visit all these remote corners of beautiful land and to get grips with our wonderful food!”

In the book: Images showcasing people from different countries and cultures.
In the book: Images showcasing people from different countries and cultures.

She continues “My wish is that this book will continue to inspire everyone who reads it to become excited about Africa.  Our cuisine is definitely the cuisine to embrace.  The food that has nourished our people for centuries, is an integral part of our lives.  Granted, culture is not static, but we cannot allow the basic flavours that shaped our palates to be eradicated.”

“Through the pages of this book, Southern Africa will at last make its contribution to International cuisine.  Its rich, nutritious and robust foods include dry beans, samp, maize-rice and maize-meal, cornrice, sorghum, groundnuts, offal, caterpillars, dried meat and vitamin-packed morogo, unusual root vegetables like amadumbe and the more exotic meats such as ostrich and zebra.  These and many other foodstuffs have nurtured the people of this continent since ancient times. “

There are plenty of dishes I could have chosen to prepare for this review but my eye gravitated towards the Chicken Feet Stew.  The original recipe includes feet, heads and intestines.  I couldn’t get heads and intestines but the feet on their own made for an amazing stew.

Everything about this book is on point, the images, styling, the introduction of each culture and country.   It all speaks to me.  Our indigenous dishes are mostly not documented and it would be sad to lose all that knowledge and heritage.  I absolutely love the book and have great respect for Mam’ Dorah Sitole and True Love for taking the initiating of putting it together.

I got mine for R249.99 at Bargain Books OR you can get it online here and here.  If you already have the book, please share your opinions with us.  Which recipes have you tried?

Chicken Feet Stew

Chicken Feet Stew

30ml (1Tbsp) oil

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

15ml (1Tbsp) medium curry powder

1 tomato, peeled and finely chopped

500g chicken feet, cleaned

2-3 carrots, cut into chunks

250ml chicken stock

15ml (1Tbsp) chutney

5ml (1tsp) Louisiana Cajun spice

5ml (1tsp) chicken spice


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan and sauté onion and green pepper until cooked.
  2. Add curry powder and cook for another minute, stirring the whole time.
  3. Add tomato, chicken feet, carrots and stock.  Cover the lid and simmer gently for about 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Add chutney,  spices and season with salt.
  5. Serve with potato pap (porridge) or dumplings.


About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 2 )

  • Sounds like a wonderful book and an incredible project!

    • It must have been very exciting hey Kit! Imagine meeting different people and learning about new cultures, countries and cuisines!

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